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Towns and villages

Askrigg

This linear village, with its old market cross and impressive Parish Church of St Oswald, which can be found at the end of a long main street of lovely eighteenth and nineteenth century houses, was once celebrated for its clock makers. There are several fine examples of their work on display in our Dales Countryside Museum in nearby Hawes. In later years the village corn and then textile mill was powered by the Mill Gill stream, which flows through a narrow wood...

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Reeth

enjoys a magnificent setting on a plateau above the River Swale, surrounded by a great panorama of hills and moors. Today it is the main settlement in Swaledale, but in Norman times, the tiny village of Grinton just to the south, was the most important settlement in the valley. For hundreds of years it had the only church and Christian burial ground in upper Swaledale.

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Masham

Set in lovely rolling countryside, the small market town of Masham is built around a large square. It has held a market charter since 1250 and thrived due to the easy access of the flocks of sheep from nearby Fountains and Jervaulx Abbeys. There is still a sheep fair every September where huge numbers of sheep are bought and sold. The independent shops and cafés are set around a large cobbled square.

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Ripon

was founded over 1300 years ago. It boasts a wealth of cultural heritage including a magnificent seventh century Cathedral, quaint medieval streets filled with fascinating shops and cafés and a fine Georgian market place. There are three unusual museums all on the theme of law and order; The Courthouse, Ripon Workhouse and the Prison and Police Museum. Then there is the canal basin and nature reserve and the friendly racecourse.

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Middleham

Famous for its twelfth century castle, the childhood home of Richard III, and its thriving racehorse training industry. Middleham is set in the beautiful countryside where Coverdale and Wensleydale meet. The town is elegantly arranged around two market squares surrounded by Georgian buildings, interesting shops, galleries and cafés. The training of racehorses has been carried out here for over 200 years and there are still several hundred horses stabled here.

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Pateley Bridge

lies at the mouth of Nidderdale, designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1994. The town's long, narrow main street has everything you might need and more from cosy tea shops, banks, a post office and a great range of independently-run shops.

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Skipton

the southern gateway to the Dales grew wealthy as a trading centre for sheep and wool. A small and friendly town with nostalgic cobbled side streets, it began life when the owners of Skipton Castle acquired a market charter in 1204 and never looked back. The town still keeps its essentially medieval layout dominated by the magnificent castle, parish church, and traditional high street market place with radiating alleys and covered passages.

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Ingleton

nestles in the foothills of Ingleborough, one of Yorkshire's famous Three Peaks. The village is surrounded by magnificent limestone countryside with deep caves, spectacular waterfalls and important geological and archaeological sites. Above ground, glaciation has produced scars, erratics, limestone pavement, high cliffs and deep dry gorges. Below ground, the limestone is riddled with dramatic underground rivers and stunning potholes.

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Settle

Under the imposing limestone Attermire Scar limestone escarpment with the crag of Castleberg hovering above the town, Settle enjoys a splendid setting at the edge of some of England's most dramatic limestone country. The town is full of fascinating buildings and a labyrinth of narrow alleys and courtyards. Most buildings date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including the French-style town hall.

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Leyburn

This fine market town is just outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park, but makes an excellent base for exploring the eastern Dales. The town itself, pleasantly situated on a low ridge above the River Ure, offers a good choice of local shops, restaurants, cafés, and even a cinema. There are also banks, a post office as well as its celebrated Friday market. The town hosts a superb annual Dales Festival of Food & Drink in June.

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